• Italian Grand Prix

Schumacher enjoys Hamilton fight

ESPNF1 Staff
September 11, 2011 « Alguersuari surprised by Toro Rosso's race pace | »
Michael Schumacher defended vigorously against Lewis Hamilton © Getty Images

Michael Schumacher says he enjoyed "driving on the limit" in his battle with Lewis Hamilton during the Italian Grand Prix.

Schumacher got a strong start up to fourth on the first lap, and passed Hamilton for third at the restart following a safety car period. From then on the pair had a long battle which at times saw Schumacher push the boundaries of making more than one move when defending his position, until eventually Hamilton got past on the run down to the Ascari chicane. Schumacher said he had to defend hard, but enjoyed the challenge of a close fight.

"It was an exciting race today, both for me and I think for all of our fans, and that is why I am happy," Schumacher said. "The fighting against Lewis was big fun, and my mirrors seemed to be very small at times. We are both known for driving on the limit, and that is what we did. I had to make my car as wide as a truck, and had to stretch the possible as much as I could, but in the end, as expected, he was still faster."

Schumacher said he got the perfect start, and that after being competitive he was excited for the rest of the season.

"The start was ideal, I held back on purpose at first in order to use the grip perfectly afterwards, and then the left side was all free. To make the most of your possibilities is the maximum possible at times, and that is why I had fun today, especially knowing that there is more to come in the future, with all the support we have from Mercedes."

It was a less successful afternoon for team-mate Nico Rosberg, however, who said Schumacher's performance was an example of just how productive his race could have been.

"I had a difficult start on my prime tyres but still managed to gain a place at the first corner, so it was quite good. Then Liuzzi flew like a torpedo over the grass and put me out of the race. It's a pity because I had a strong strategy and, as Michael's good result showed, our car was very strong this afternoon."